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VERTICAL AGREEMENTS: AMO SR decided on vertical agreement in the area of distribution and sale of children´s goods

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On 15 July 2019 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, the Division of Abuse of Dominant Position and Vertical Agreements, (hereafter the “Office”) issued a decision, by which it imposed a fine on the company ags 92, s.r.o., Bratislava in the amount of EUR 20 632 for a vertical agreement restricting competition under the Article 4 Paragraph 1 in connection with the Article 4 Paragraph 4 Letter a) of the Act on Protection of Competition and the Article 101 Paragraph 1 Letter a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union in the field of distribution and sale of children's goods.
The anti-competitive conduct of the company ags 92, s.r.o., which as a distributor was always one of the parties to the vertical agreement, consisted of determining prices for resale of Chicco goods sold by retail customers - operators of Internet shops/e-shops with children's goods to end customers in the territory of the Slovak Republic and in the territory of the Czech Republic. Restricting competition in the form of determining prices for resale (a restriction in the form of RPM or resale price maintenance) is by European competition law considered as a hardcore restriction, which, by its very nature, aims to restrict competition with a negative impact on an end consumer.
In this case, there was also the assessment of anti-competitive conduct in the field of e-commerce - trading via the Internet. The importance of this form of sale and purchase of goods has been growing in the EU as well as in the Slovak Republic for a long time; therefore, it has become the focus of all competition authorities in the recent period.
Within the administrative proceedings, the company ags 92, s.r.o., filed an application for settlement pursuant to the Article 1 Paragraph 1 of the Decree of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic No. 171/2014 Coll., laying down the details of the settlement conditions. After evaluating all facts, the Office agreed to the settlement procedure, based on which the fine originally imposed on the party to the proceedings was reduced by 50 %, i. e. to the above stated amount of EUR 20 632.
The Office´s decision came into force on 9 August 2019.